March 1 – April 13, 2024
The Art Incubator Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday March 1st, 7 -10 pm
Luke Johnson’s works over the last several years have developed out of ongoing relationships with libraries and archives, responding to the various ways objects embody the meanings they held to those who have interacted with them through their histories. Using photographic print methods and subsequently developing the work through acts of drawing, Johnson blurs the distinctions between the archival qualities of the camera’s lens and the subjective marks reenforced by hand. The resulting works pose a series of visually transmitted questions: what does it mean to leave a mark? Does it matter if such marks are traceable to their sources? And what does it mean to consider those marks, passed down through time by those who came before us, which may no longer be legible?
In the body of work being exhibited at Harcourt House, Johnson has started with images of typographical spaces—the pieces of lead used in letterpress printing to create space between and around words. Examining these mass-produced objects, he was struck by the scratches and pockmarks inflicted on them through a history of use, along with their production flaws and differences based on place and time of manufacture. In the useful lifetime of these objects, they have defined a standardized unit of silence, but in their physicality, they suggest unique and differentiated forms of space. In these and other related drawings, Johnson is interested in the ongoing exchange between objects and the environment around them, and the importance of attention as a purposeful, visual act.
Luke Johnson is a multidisciplinary artist born in Minnesota, and currently based on Treaty 7 territory in Red Deer, Alberta. Working in print media, drawing, and durational engagements within collections, Johnson draws from the stories and unintended afterlives of archival materials. He has exhibited his work throughout Canada and the United States, and internationally in Australia, Armenia, Finland, Poland, and Portugal. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his MFA from the University of Alberta, where he taught printmaking and drawing from 2019–2023. He currently teaches at Red Deer Polytechnic.
Top Image: from Admission of Structure, 2022, graphite and watercolour on paper
Photo courtesy of the artist